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Sara Thorndike will leave her position at East Carolina University and begin to work at Pennsylvania State University on Jan. 18.

Sara Thorndike, vice chancellor for administration and finance and chief financial officer at East Carolina University, will become Pennsylvania State University’s (Penn State) next senior Vice President for Finance and Business/treasurer. 

Thorndike’s move to Penn State will be effective Jan. 18, which awaits final approval from the Penn State Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Compensation, according to a press release from Penn State News Services.

David Gray, who has served as senior Vice President for Finance and Business/treasurer at Penn State since February 2012, will step down from the position when Thorndike steps in.

“She succeeds David Gray who announced his intention to retire in 2020 after eight years of dedicated service to the university,” the press release said. 

According to the press release, Thorndike has been employed by ECU since March 2018, where she has overseen budgets over $900 million, led a staff consisting of over 1,000 people, planned oversight for 13 units across the university and more. Thorndike contributed in saving more than $2 million annually for ECU and preserving the health of the institution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thorndike is part of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) in which she was recognized for in 2017 with the Rising Star Award, according to the release. Thorndike serves as vice-chair for the comprehensive and doctoral constituents committee of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers, the release said.

Thorndike said in the release that she is excited to bring her abilities to a higher education institution such as Penn State.

“Higher education is an incredible pathway for empowering people, enriching communities and contributing to the advancement of our global society,” Thorndike said.

With more than 20 years of finance and accounting experience and 15 years of leading financial operation for higher education institutions, Thorndike will play a critical role at Penn State, where responsibilities include the oversight of financial performance, the Finance and Business Office and several mission-critical units at the university. 

Penn State President Eric J. Barron said one of the reasons he is excited to work with Thorndike is because of her passion for education and its transformative potential, according to the Penn State press release.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Thorndike to Penn State. She possesses a wealth of financial and higher education leadership experience,” Barron said.

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